Connecting Youth and Young Adults to School, Work and Civic Life

The Reengagement Network is committed to raising awareness and supporting city leaders and communities in improving outcomes for the millions of youth and young adults between the ages of 16-24, who are not in school or working.

For a growing number of sites across the country, The NLC staff helps share and adopt practices that:

  • Promote peer learning
  • Reengage disconnected youth and young adults 
  • Improve support systems
  • Remove obstacles to educational advancement

The rapid transition to virtual schooling, remote activities and changing social environments during the COVID-19 pandemic has led many students to disengage. This is particularly evident in Southern states where rates of disconnection have trended higher than the 11% national average. But the disengagement among this population has also prompted creativity and adaptation of local reengagement and support strategies. In addition to tools primarily focused on the preexisting opportunity youth population, NLC now provides new resources tailored to the process of rebuilding amid the pandemic and beyond.

View Map of Sites in the NLC Reengagement Network: Network Map 

Reengaging Opportunity Youth in the South Cohort

The National League of Cities (NLC) is excited to launch its Reengaging Opportunity Youth in the South Cohort to support the emergence of reengagement efforts in the Southeast and Southwest United States.  This initiative provides support to city leaders and their key partners such as school districts, alternative schools, workforce boards, community colleges, and older-youth-focused community-based organizations, intermediaries, and agencies across the Southeast and Southwest U.S.  

The Institute for Youth, Education & Families, also known as YEF Institute, will work closely with selected cities to develop local reengagement centers or programs through individualized and peer learning processes. For example, selected cities will assess needs and capabilities, consult with Opportunity Youth themselves, create a local implementation plan, and receive tailored support during the implementation phase. 

Benefits to participating cities  

Cities selected to join the cohort will gain access to a broad range of benefits, including:  

  • Individualized technical assistance and guidance to develop and implement a reengagement program or Center for Opportunity Youth 
  • Links to resources, peer learning, and national experts through virtual meetings and convenings  
  • At least one in-person site visit by a YEF Institute staff member and one cohort meeting (pending pandemic safety measures)  
  • Training and support on best practices to engage and support opportunity youth


To be eligible for this technical assistance initiative of the YEF Institute, the Mayor and city team must demonstrate a broad commitment to implementing a reengagement program in their community during a 18-month period, beginning in January 2022. The YEF Institute seeks applications from cities in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky and Oklahoma.  Groups of two or more neighboring cities may apply. The YEF Institute will prioritize the participation of cities that hold NLC membership in good standing. 

How to apply for the Reengaging Opportunity Youth in the South Cohort

NLC is currently accepting applications for this Reengaging Opportunity Youth in the South Cohort. The application deadline is January 7, 2022.

  • Before submitting your application, review the Request For Proposal (RFP) to learn more about the initiative and key information required to start your application.
  • Once you’ve reviewed the RFP and gathered your requirements, you may start your application.

The Reengaging Opportunity Youth in the South initiative is made possible with the generous support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Connect with the Reengagement Network team

Learn the latest news, resources and research for supporting and leading student reengagement efforts.

Plus, be the first to learn when you can work directly with NLC to reengage youth in your city, town or village.